There is currently more than 1 million acres of public land for hunting in Georgia. However, in an effort to expand opportunities for hunters even further, Georgia has passed legislation that seriously curtails a landowner's liability in the event that a hunting accident occurs on their property.
Previously, private landowners have been hesitant to grant hunters permission to use their land due to these concerns, but Georgia hopes to reverse that trend. The Landowner Protection Act protects landowners, who allow hunters to hunt on their property, from being sued for accidents arising during a hunt except those due to gross negligence on the part of the landowner.
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Even though it's easier now for landowners to share their land with hunters, there still are several important rules hunters must follow.
Here are four things for landowners to know about hunting on private property per the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Resources Division:
1. Licenses Required
All hunters must have a valid license for the current year. However, hunters do not need a license if they are hunting on land that they own. Licenses must be renewed annually and expired one year from the date of renewal. Furthermore, special licenses are required for anyone hunting alligators, big game, or waterfowl.
2. Legal Liability
Even though legislation was passed to ease the burden of liability on landowners in Georgia, they still can be found accountable under certain conditions. The Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division explains, "Georgia law (OCGA 51-3-20 through 51-3-26) explicitly shields landowners from civil liability for injuries to persons who use their land for recreational purposes without charge unless the landowner willfully or maliciously fails to guard against or warn of a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity."
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3. Firearm Restrictions
In past decades, many forms of firearms were not permitted on private property. Many of those regulations have been overturned recently, allowing hunters to use as wide array of firearms wherever they'd like. One such example was suppressors, which are permitted so long as the owner of the firearm can show proof of legal possession. Also, Georgia Hunting Seasons & Regulations notes
, "Permission of the landowner is required."
4. Dress Code
Hunters do not generally need to adhere to a specific dress code on private land unless they are hunting a few special types or prey. These include bears, hogs, and dear during their respective hunting seasons. Georgia Hunting Seasons & Regulations explains further, "A hunter, and anyone accompanying the hunter, must at all times wear as an outer garment at least 500 square inches of visible hunter orange above the waist (which may include a head covering)."
This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.
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